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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 February 2008, 10:02 GMT
Eleven held in football violence
City Arms pub, Earlsdon
The trouble is believed to have started outside the City Arms pub
Eleven people have been arrested after up to 100 football hooligans were involved in a brawl in Coventry.

Police believe the violence which flared in Earlsdon High Street - six miles from Coventry City's Ricoh Arena - was pre-arranged.

Witnesses reported seeing men on mobile phones shortly before trouble broke out, hours before Coventry's match with Leicester City.

Knives were seized by the police and one man suffered minor head injuries.

A police spokesman said CCTV footage of the incident, which happened at 1130 GMT, was also being studied.

This was a determined effort to cause violence
Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Hyde

Witnesses described "hordes" of men spreading out across the street and throwing bricks at each other.

The trouble is believed to have started outside Earlsdon's City Arms pub.

One eyewitness, who did not want to be named, said: "We've never had anything like this before in this area.

"I saw a load of men, probably in their 50s, on phones and it was obvious they were planning something, then it all kicked off.

"The police moved in swiftly but we've got absolutely no idea why it happened here."

Another said: "One came up to us with blood on his knuckles and asked if we had a local cab number, so we told the police to go and get him."

Although Earlsdon, a residential suburb, is miles from Coventry's ground, it is within walking distance of the city's main railway stations.

Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Hyde of West Midlands Police said: "This was a determined effort to cause violence and our response has been swift.

"It does emphasise the need for extra police resources on match days and in and around football grounds.

"It is very unusual for disorder to break out in the Earlsdon area, and all indications at the moment suggest that the violence was planned.

"While the majority of football fans are law abiding, police will deal robustly with the minority intent on causing violence and disorder."



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